When searching for originality and creativeness, look no further than the Wu-Tang Clan.
In an era where copycatting has become the norm, you would have a better chance of breaking into encrypted files at the Pentagon, rather than trying to imitate what the brothers from Shaolin built.
Just like any relationship, they’ve had their ups and downs over the years, but when it’s time for a project, you wouldn’t notice it, because they always come together for the greater good, which is real Hip-Hop in this case.
As the Killer Bees continue to shape their legacy, they add another chapter with their latest album, Chamber Music.
Like all group efforts, the RZA mans the boards, but this time around, he brings in a new element, as he features Brooklyn-based soul band, The Revelations as well.
It would be tough to call this an official Wu-Tang Clan album, because some key figures are missing from the lineup (i.e. Method Man, GZA, and Masta Killa).
But the Wu fills up those empty slots with Hip-Hop veterans like AZ, Cormega, Kool G. Rap, Havoc [Click for album review], Sadat X, M.O.P., Masta Ace, and Sean Price.
In true Wu-Tang fashion, the album starts off with a voice clip from an old Kung-Fu movie, which goes right into ‘Kill Too Hard’ (feat. Inspectah Deck, U-God [Click for album review], and Masta Ace).
RZA pops in here and there with spoken word portions throughout the project, and one of them comes in on ‘The Abbot,’ which is a perfect introduction for ‘Harbor Masters’ (feat. AZ, Ghostface Killah, and Inspectah Deck).
Reverting back to the old school way of having no hooks and rhyming straight through, all three MC’s show why they’re still relevant, with Cormega having the best showing of them all.
Chamber Music also features one of Ghostface Killah’s patented “thug love songs” in ‘I Wish You Were Here’ (feat. Tre Williams). But “Pretty Toney” doesn’t go too far in depth, as he only drops one verse, leaving the singer to reiterate the rest with his soulful voice.
The lyrical mastery stays in tact with well-orchestrated collaborations, and production alike on other chambers such as ‘Ill Mind’ (feat. M.O.P., Raekwon, and Kool G. Rap), ‘Evil Deeds’ (feat. Havoc, Ghostface Killah, and RZA), and ‘Sound The Horns’ (feat. Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Sadat X).
As aforementioned, some key clansmen were absent, but like any championship team, the Wu-Tang Clan plug in assistance where needed, and delivers another memorable piece of work for their already-lengthy catalog.
In a time where Hip-Hop is obviously moving into another direction, the Wu still marches to the beat of their own drum, while disregarding what the current state of the art form has become.
The material on Chamber Music can be sealed into a cocoon, locked up for the next 20 years, and when it’s opened, the music would still be just as pertinent as it was when it first hit the scene—and that right there is the true definition of excellence…